Our Design Technology curriculum is planned and sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before. We recognise that new learning is fragile, so our approach is generative and sticky, enabling our pupils to make links between new and existing knowledge to aid long term retention. Learning is sequenced to ensure that there are opportunities for spaced learning and links between curriculum areas are explicit allowing children to build a detailed schema for across scientific disciplines and also across other subjects.
In Key Stage 1 and 2, Design Technology is taught termly through 5 stand alone hour long lessons and a ‘DT Day’ that allows a longer session focused on construction evaluation and redesign . Additional STEM opportunities are planned throughout the year for the enrichment of our curriculum particularly in British DT Week.
Within the curriculum, the key knowledge and skills for each year group can be seen in our progression maps. These have then been broken down into topics in our long and medium-term planning, which class teachers then use to plan progressive and engaging lessons. Our medium-term planning ensures each session follows a sequence of learning that is sequenced using the 5 step DT process:
- Teach Skills
All of our DT projects have purpose and are specifically designed to have real life application and purpose.
- Language development
Within DT, oracy opportunities are planned into the curriculum that allow children to develop the physical, linguistic, cognitive and social and emotional aspects of learning. Opportunities are planned that allow children to debate, present, explain, discuss key aspects of design and the design processes.
Dialogical teaching empowers students to challenge each other’s views, expand ideas and build and evaluate arguments. We want the children to challenge each other’s views that will lead them to a deeper understanding of the topics we are teaching. Group and paired work is planned in and central to our teaching of DT.
Development of vocabulary in DT is vital in them closing the vocabulary gap to their peers from more affluent areas. Vocabulary is explicitly planned, taught and assessed, ensuring a thorough grasp of new language. New vocabulary is collected during a topic so that these can then be referred back to in the subsequent lessons to promote sticky learning and to scaffold all children in retaining key language and information.
Reading is a crucial part of the development of vocabulary and of language development. Where appropriate, high quality texts and extracts of these texts are planned into our DT curriculum and support a deeper understanding of new vocabulary within context.
Our approach throughout the curriculum is generative, enabling pupils to make links between new and existing knowledge to aid retention. By the end of year 6, pupils will have a broad understanding of the Design Process. Development of both disciplinary and substantive knowledge is well sequenced to ensure that children know and remember more. This is shown within our progression maps for DT.
New knowledge is organised in such a way that ensures cognitive strategies, such as spaced repetition, are well thought through and planned. Following our whole school model for high quality teaching and learning (Appendix 1), we ensure that teaching strategies allow the children to learn more and remember more. The curriculum is organised to enable children to build webs of knowledge (schemas), with explicit links being drawn between new and existing knowledge. These links are highlighted within medium term plans to ensure that staff explicitly make these links when planning lessons.
When knowledge is secure and links have been made, children are encouraged to take this knowledge deeper and apply this critically in different situations. Assessments are made using open ended assessment tasks that allow children to take learning deeper, demonstrating their critical thinking skills. We use an iterative process in all of our DT topics allowing the children to demonstrate this critical thinking and evaluation.
Low stakes quizzes are planned into Medium Term planning and used regularly to ensure that knowledge is remembered and retained. These form part of our assessment for learning in DT.
While the teaching of disciplinary knowledge is key to progress in subjects, children require the opportunity to turn this knowledge to practice and apply skills. Our Curriculum planning ensures that these opportunities are embedded for all children. Skills that are taught in DT are progressive and highlighted on our curriculum grid.
- Attitudes and values
To develop the children’s growth mindset, rather than simply praising success, we praise effort and persistence. We believe learning should be a challenge and within DT, our children are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. In DT, we want learning to be challenging and encourage the children to take risks. Our approach to our curriculum aims to build self-esteem, a respect for self and others, kindness and resilience, with staff modelling across the curriculum how to deal with challenge and adversity. Therefore all design briefs attempt to ensure the children overcome real life problems.
From EYFS through to KS2, we give the children opportunities to be designers and discuss the design skills that they are using to investigate and explore. We want children to celebrate the successes of making items for real life purposes.
Local, Societal and Global
- As an Inclusion Quality Mark flagship school, inclusivity is key to our culture as a school. Within the curriculum, we aim to celebrate difference and diversity. Key scientists from a range of backgrounds are celebrated from a range of backgrounds and children are encouraged to find out more about them. Strategies are used (As highlighted below) to ensure that all children can make good progress in DT. British DT Week will be a focus point across the school each year to promote the importance and potential of DT to our pupils. Our DT curriculum aims to promote diversity. In our STEM week, we encourage pupils to discover more about famous scientists and designers from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
- Sustainability is one of the key themes that is going to prepare our children for life in the future. Key questions about sustainability form central parts of our DT curriculum. This is particularly evident in the food technology units as children analyse the carbon footprint and sustainability of meals alongside their work in year 6.
- Teachers apply a range of strategies within lessons to enable the children to become invested in their education. We believe that it is vitally important for children to develop their own opinions and voice about design and technology.
- Developing a love of DT
Children often find joy in their discoveries in DT. Giving them opportunities to ask questions and explore their findings is key to this. Creativity and a chance to explore and take risks is crucial to the teaching of DT at Meadowside/
Additional enrichment opportunities are provided during STEM week. Opportunities to further explore DT and careers linked to STEM. Links are made with other STEM subjects that allow the practical application of DT in other areas.
The monitoring cycle is set out by the senior leadership team at the beginning of each academic year. Monitoring includes book looks, lesson visits, learning walks, pupil/staff voice surveys and guidance days. All monitoring undertaken serves to improve our practice, with the aim of bettering the outcomes for our pupils.
Formative assessment is an integral part of daily lessons and is first and foremost the essence of helping making our pupils make instant progress in their scientific knowledge and in their skills. This is done through a mixture of high-level questioning, discussion, Oracy activities and written work.
We use live marking and feedback to enable teachers to target next steps for pupils effectively. Opportunities for children to review and improve their learning are embedded into each lesson. Children are given the opportunity to evaluate their own work, and that of their peers. During and on completion of a piece of work, the teacher responds, identifying areas for development. Children’s work is valued, celebrated and displayed around the class and school.
At the end of each term, a written report is given to parents that show whether a child is achieving the required standard in DT, and these are discussed with parents with strategies to move learning forward being discussed.
Tracking of key groups allows for a better structure to learning and allows the DT subject coordinator to adapt the curriculum where needed.
Where there is a specific area of learning that a significant group needs reinforcing, this will be done in the “Catch up week” on the timetable.
SEND and Inclusion
At Meadowside we have high expectations of all our pupils. However, we recognise that for some pupils, additional support is needed to ensure they can access tasks and so that they can retain key learning. Tasks are adapted or scaffolded in such a was so as to ensure that they are provide suitable challenges that focus on the scientific learning and remove any barriers for learning that stop learning in DT. Teachers use their pupil passports and appropriate assessments to help inform their planning. This way, a person-centered approach ensures progress is made and makes their learning a personalised experience.
At Meadowside, we want all learning to support independence wherever possible. Teachers will plan lessons so that pupils with SEND are able to successfully access the key content of the DT curriculum and ensure that no ceiling is placed on their learning and what they can achieve. Promoting independence, we allow the children to feel a sense of equality and belonging in their classroom environment.
Where appropriate, the following strategies could be used for pupils with SEND:
- Opportunities for overlearning key knowledge.
- Technology used for recording information. Video recording of work if writing is an issue/use of speechnotes programme or Clicker 7/a scribe/dictation tool on ipad.
- Web based learning for practice and learning of key knowledge.
- Use of concrete resources
- Voice recordings of step by step instructions
- Voice recordings of responses.
- Screen shots and photographs
- Voice recordings
- Peer support for mathematical skills
- Modeling of work specifically for a small group of children.
- Vocab mats highlighting specific vocabulary for a task
- Broken down instructions for a task.
- Sentence stems from board/worksheet
- Task organiser
- Use of concrete resources
- Further questioning
- Additional focused explanations
- Precision teaching of key knowledge.
- Additional oracy opportunities.
- Peer support.
Additional strategies for pupils will be highlighted as a part of the SEND strategy meetings and in consultation with other professionals. These form part of a child’s pupil passport and support teachers in removing barriers for learning.
Where a child struggles with key aspects of learning, it is crucial that we highlight what is key knowledge for a child to move on with their learning. Progression maps highlight which knowledge is the basis for other knowledge later on within the DT curriculum. Staff therefore provide time for overlearning of this key knowledge where it is deemed appropriate for these children. Support and CPD is given to staff to ensure they have a good understanding of what learning is key to move on. These children are discussed regularly with the SENCo.
Opportunities for higher attainers to take learning deeper are planned throughout the curriculum. Open ended tasks and high quality first teaching ensure that learning is taken deeper. Enrichment opportunities are planned throughout the year. Opportunities for children to explore careers in STEM are planned into the curriculum and accessed where appropriate. Visiting speakers, particularly those from similar backgrounds to our pupils are encouraged to come in and support classes in delivering key areas of DT.
We work closely with the high school to encourage our children to attend Coder Dojo. Opportunities to also use the Fab Lab are explored and included in our extra curricular activities. During transition in year 5 and 6 STEM projects are planned by the high school and our higher attaining pupils attend.
CPD for staff
CPD is planned for staff throughout the year and opportunities are planned into our yearly training in line with our school development plan. Staff are encouraged to also complete their own research. Medium term planning includes “Mastery For Teaching” recapping subject knowledge that will be needed to take learning deeper in DT. Where appropriate, staff will also find this out by asking questions to staff.
Monitoring of DT
The monitoring cycle is set out by the senior leadership team at the beginning of each academic year. Monitoring includes book looks, lesson visits, learning walks, pupil/staff voice surveys and guidance days (completed in conjunction with SIL). All monitoring undertaken serves to improve our practice, with the aim of bettering the outcomes for our pupils. The DT subject lead has 1 half day per half term to meet with the curriculum coordinator and discuss progress.
Transition to KS3
At Meadowside, we work closely with our feeder secondary schools to ensure a quality of provision that gives our pupils firm foundations for year 6. Pupils in Year 5 and 6 regularly access DT transition lessons at the high school that allow them to show the knowledge that they have learnt and to ensure that learning in KS3 successfully builds on the foundations laid at KS2. Our local feeder school is a STEM ambassador school. Therefore, we work closely with them to provide additional opportunities for more able pupils. Coder Dojo is advertised to all of our pupils and they are supported to attend.
At Meadowside, we ensure that all students are exposed to rich learning experiences that:
- Enable all students to make good progress in their design knowledge, skills and vocabulary from whatever the students starting point may have been. We define good progress as knowing more and remembering more. It is the widening of knowledge, skills, understanding and behaviours.
- Children have self-efficacy and see themselves as designers. They take an interest in the aspects of design which enable our children to analyse the things around them.
- We aim to inspire our children to become the next generation of designers, engineers and environmentalists who love, look after and respect themselves, their communities and the world around them.
- Our pupils experience a language rich DT experience which enables them to apply their knowledge as articulate citizens of the future discussing research, knowledge and developments.
- for our pupils to be resilient when designing, learning from the process..
- for pupils leaving us to be well prepared for the next stage in their lives, particularly for the further study of DT at KS3.